Michigan State News

February 4, 1969


Chris Mead

"Rally, sit-in for Garskof prompt plans for strike"


Chanting "On strike, shut it down!", hundreds of students poured out of the new Administration Bldg. Monday and headed for Holmes Hall to begin building a broad base of student support for a general strike against the University.

Following a rally of 400 people, according to a University police estimate, and a sit-in at the new Administration Bldg., the students overwhelmingly voted to begin political organization in the residence halls, starting Monday night in East Complex.

The students planned to spend the night there.

Basically, the students have agreed on two demands:


The program of the student organizers is to move toward a general student strike through "mass recruiting, mass picketing, mass organizing and mass disruption."

The rally began at 2 p.m. in the plaza in front of the Administration Bldg., but moved inside to formulate major policy decisions.

An organic plan was to mandate a group of students to spend the night in the Administration Building while the rest went to Holmes. It was later decided in the interest of solidarity, that the group should go to Holmes Hall en masse.

Two persons, who stayed in the building and who were arrested at about 6:10 p.m. by police officers, were identified, questioned and released. Warrants for trespassing will be sought from the Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney this morning.

Milton B. Dickerson, vice president for student affairs, gave the order for the crowd to disperse when the building closed at 5:30 p.m. His comments were met by boos and hisses, but the students left the building peacefully as earlier agreed upon.

The students will reassemble at the Administration Bldg. at 10 a.m. today to work on plans for residence hall organizing and the general strike against the University.

Monday’s rally was sparked when Clarence L. Winder, dean of the College of Social Science, revoked a two-year teaching contract that had originally been offered to Garskof.

In response to the rally, Winder said, "There are a great many things going on in departments, colleges, and from students on committees. The most constructive thing that can happen is for the students to work through these channels to get things done.

"If a strike should happen," he said, "it would deteriorate the efforts of people, including myself, who are working for change in a peaceful manner.

The consensus at the sit-in "rap session" was that the University is basically a racist, imperialistic institution which, with few exceptions, educates only middle class students to fit into the "military-industrial complex."

Students also discussed grades which most felt were the administration’s way of "pitting students against each other" and allowing big business and government to determine where students fit in the "national interest."

Prior to entering the building, members of the faculty, Students for a Democratic Society and Black Students’ Alliance spoke in behalf of Garskof.

Garskof himself also spoke and reiterated that he did not want his termination to be the focal point of any proposed strike. He said the students should "break down the barriers between the educational elite and poor working people."

Charles Larrowe, professor of economics, was at the rally and suggested that the tenure psychology faculty reopen the Garskof case in light of massive student reaction.

"The Department of Psychology is responsible for this for not standing up to the dean for taking action without consulting them," Larrowe said.

"It would be a hard thing for the Dept. of Psychology to admit they were wrong in the first place, but it would cut down the conflict between students and administrators," he said.

Garskof seemed skeptical that reinstatement through the Dept. of Psychology would work out.

Garskof said he suspected the decision for his dismissal came from further up in the University administration than was commonly known.

"From clean through the department itself there was no irregularity in what I was doing," he said. "The last act of the Psychology Dept. was to re-open 490. The decision not to reinstate Garskof came from higher up. The reasons given were academically total non-sequiturs."

Police personnel from most local departments, the University, East Lansing, Ingham County and Michigan State Police, were involved in precautionary measures taken by University officials.

Cap. Adam J. Zutant, commander of the University police, noted that the only observed destruction to the building was a glass door broken on the river side and a window cracked on the north side. Zutant said witnesses told police the window was broken when an iron bar was thrown through it.

Zutant said police are prepared for events that may happen at today’s demonstration.